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OW training and DSD questions.

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Saboteur, May 17, 2019.

  1. Saboteur

    Saboteur Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Earth
    Hi. I was with my kids on a recent Caribbean trip. One of them did their OW dives and the other a couple of discover scuba dives. What are are reasonable dive times for OW dives 1-4? I accompanied him on 3 of the OW dives. Dives 1 and 2 were only 39 minutes and 4 was 46 minutes. These seem somewhat short to me as depths did not exceed 40 feet and I know he had plenty of air from noting where he was on periodic air checks compared to mine. It seems to me that after skills are completed you should be offered more time than that (50-55?) depending on air remaining (or NDL which isn't a factor here) to just enjoy the sites.

    Son #2 did a DSD dive a couple of days later, same situation with both dives at 41 and 42 minutes, plenty of air left from comparing air checks to mine during the dive. Other groups on the same dives were all doing safety stops at around the 35 minute mark. Do all of these times seem short compared to your Caribbean experiences?

    My other question has to do with how the instructor takes charge of the DSD student on a one to one instructor to student dive. Should the instructor leave the student and leave him with me at any time? After the safety stop, we were all making our way to the stern when the instructor who was in the lead did an about face and went back to the mooring line where there were still other divers (still 2 other DM's in the water for 4 divers). We continued our way back towards the ladder (son in front of me). When he got ready to exit the water he had his reg out (no snorkel) and fins off in his hands and had a few moments of difficulty (to my eye) getting ahold of the ladder. I scrambled to get to him in case he needed assistance, but he managed to get straightened away alright. The instructor boarded a few minutes after us. I'm probably making this out to be more of a issue than it is, he thought it was no big deal but in my opinion the professional should be directly accompanying the student.

    Appreciate any input you can offer.
  2. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    Here in the Midwest, OW dives are done at a quarry, no deeper than 30ft for the most part. Mine were anywhere from 20-35 minutes. SDI class. I’ve observed PADI OW classes at the quarry, and dive times seem to be 20-30 min.
  3. mmerriman

    mmerriman Captain

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boston MA
    those dive times are totally reasonable. On the supervision front however - NO - the instructor should never leave a student (OW or DSD) unattended.
    Seaweed Doc and Graeme Fraser like this.
  4. Outbound

    Outbound Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Michigan
    I just went back and checked my log for OW dives 1-4. My times were 44 mins, 50 mins, 52 mins, and 54 mins respectively. But I had the luxury of being the only student on my referral dives (it just worked out that way) and, since I was very comfortable in the water and with the skills, I just banged everything out and then we went on a fun dive for the rest of the time. And this was in the Caribbean. As Marie said, in the Midwest most OW cert dives are about half that duration because the water is much colder. You do the skills, maybe swim around a bit, and get out.
  5. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    It is unclear from what you wrote, did the instructor leave his DSD student unattended or did he just trail slightly behind the DSD student when the student was successfully buoyant at the surface in the vicinity of the boat? How far away was the instructor from the student? What was the instructor doing? was he attending to a safety issue? Was there a safety issue present with your child? Did the instructor brief your son that he should keep his reg in his mouth when climbing the ladder but your son took it out to talk to you at some point and forgot about it?...while it is good form to keep your reg in your mouth until on board the boat, this is not really something critical...it allows you to breath unencumbered if you fall off the ladder...if the seas are calm then not so much a big deal, when the waves are rolling it is more prudent to keep it in. For fins, some ladders are not conducive to climbing with fins so it is all based on the circumstances. Perhaps the instructor move to the rear so he could keep a better on eye on you and your son.

    A 40+ minute DSD seems rather long to me...thats great that your son got the opportunity to do a DSD that long.

  6. almostDIR

    almostDIR Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Finland
    my OW course dives were something close to 25 - 30 minutes a piece. they are normally done in quarries here (most other places don't have enough visibility year around so quarries are much safer than trying to do OW course in the sea with 1 or 2m of visibility...) and it is pretty cold therein quarries and lakes year around if you go under the first thermocline (typically that seems to be at around 5m /15ft in Summer in quarries and small lakes here. the surface water can be for example 20°C or more but it sharply drops to well under 10°C when going under the thermocline) so you can get pretty cold in a wetsuit in 20 or 30 minutes even in mid summer...

    the point of the dives is to learn the mandatory skills, I would not stress too much how much "air is wasted" in the process :)
  7. Saboteur

    Saboteur Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Earth
    Early on in the dives it was clear the skills part was over and we enjoyed a leisurely swim about afterward. I just thought that the dives would be longer given that plenty of air remained. But it seems like the duration was reasonable.
  8. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    On DSD I believe PADI's standard is the instructor should always be within grabbing distance of every student (not exact wording of course). I am always puzzled as to how this is possible if the standard is (I believe) a maximum of 4 students to one instructor or 2 to one DM.
    Our OW checkout dives here in Nova Scotia are always about the same depths and times you cited. That is so they fit into each weekend day including all the driving, setting up, surface interval, discussions before and after the dives, and log book afterwords. Of course, there isn't the attraction of pretty reefs to explore on a longer dive and nice warm water to dive in.
    Recently, dive #4 has been the "mini dive" where students plan and execute their own dive with a pro only tailing them in case of trouble. So on this dive and bits of the other 3 there is at least some time to just tool around. But for the most part, it's all business and getting the skills done properly. Plenty of time to explore once they're certified.
    I digress a bit, but this is the main reason myself and others advise that if possible do the whole OW course locally rather than waste vacation time doing a lot of skills instead of just exploring.
  9. Will1760

    Will1760 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: U.K.
    Could you clarify what you mean by plenty of air left? Are we talking like 100Bar/1450Psi or something completely different?
  10. shurite7

    shurite7 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: MT
    There is no definitive answer to this question. There are many variables that can affect duration. They include the instructor / dive operator is on a time schedule, someone is low on air, the instructor is getting bored and wants out of the water, a diver is having issues requiring the group to get out, and the list goes on and on.

    When I lived in the tropics the average dive time for students was 35 minutes. When I lived in TX the average dive time for students in the quarry diving above the thermocline was 45-60 minutes. Here in MT where the water is colder a twenty to twenty five minute dive is not unheard of.

    Not sure how to answer your second question to due the vagnuess of the information. during a resort course and basic scuba class students are not to be left unattended at any time. Does it happen in unexpected situations - yes, but they should never be left without a certified assistant present.

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